visa monster

Keeping the Visa monster fed has become a national passtime in canada, with canadians owing, on average 176 percent of their gross incomes, after tax. But don’t feel bad, your govt has even worse financial diarrhea than you do: http://www.debtclock.ca/

I want to talk about my own personal battlefield experience with the visa monster in the hopes that something I’ve experienced may be helpful to someone, who like me, was taken in by instagrat plastic.

In my case, I was going to get ridiculously rich with an initial investment of 20,000 in silver fox ranching.
I lacked the funding, Dad co signed, the bank poofed the money out of thin air, handed me a visa card and things looked promising! The foxes failed to breed, the price of fur slumped 70 percent, interest rates soared to 20 percent plus, and I had a perfect storm on my hands!

Some of you wish you owed 30,000 today, but back in 1980, for a single guy without a job, before the massive devaluation of the currency, the problem seemed almost insurmountable. Interest rates over 20 percent meant I needed to earn 6,000 a year after taxes just for the situation to be maintained as it was.

In retrospect, I should have immediately sold everything I owned, hitchhiked back to the yukon, taken my old job back as a machinist and welder in Jacobs industries, lived in a cardboard box by the river, and put every cent into paying that steaming pile of debt down to ground zero. Could have disappeared my debt in a year. Tragically, I tried to hang onto my stuff and suffered under that debt for many years.

If you are in a situation like that today, bankruptcy of course is (and was) a viable option. In my case, dad would have been hung with my debt, a situation I was unwilling to conscience. 

So the fight began. And eventually I won so apparently I didn’t do everything wrong.

Here are a few tricks which helped me on the debt-battlefield:

– Negotiate for a lower interest rate or any advantage you can gain, such as debt reduction. (this is one I Should have tried) In my case, a merciful bankerette showed me how to reduce my rate to something affordable.

– Use every opportunity to pay down your principle. I literally took 20 bucks in there as soon as I had it in my pocket.

– Obviously, it is going to be a fact of life that luxuries such as dining at rotten ronnie’s, cable TV, indulging in new shoes and so on are going to be severely curtailed. However, I found that the odd treat helped me enough psychogically to be worthwhile.

– And about diet: Living on peanuts actually works! It’s amazing how much energy you get from a handful of those babies. 

– Hunting, fishing and gathering wild edibles such as berries, mushrooms, and many other plants reduces the need for new debt. In addition, it is soul-satisfying and completely by-passes govt tax-rape. 

– Coffee grounds can be re-used. Just add a bit of fresh on top of the filter and make a second pot.

– Some Free stores are full of decent clothes, neatly arranged. Every dollar you save in this way saves closer to 2 when you consider the fact that your earnings are being taxed on so many levels.

– Of course, some people make a career of dumpster diving, saving so much money that they don’t even appear on the tax-roster. I’m not suggesting that as a career choice, but rather pointing out some opportunities that exist, which I have found helpful.

– Being self-employed is probably one of the best ways to earn enough to pry yourself out of a sucking debthole. “Be willing to do what others aren’t” and you’ll always have an income. And the advantage of self-employment is you can work 20 hours a day. In my case, I pushed myself far beyond what I thought myself capable of accomplishing. I’m no stranger to working after midnight when an opportnity presents.

– Vehicles are a whole ‘nother subject. They can provide a big advantage, obviously, but they can keep you in the financial backseat for good, too. Get an older, low-mileage type. Millions of good ones out there with low readings on the odometer. Look at it like this: how much pop is still left in this can? Yesterday a guy drove onto my yard with a nice-looking dodge halfton with a canopy which he scored for 700 bucks. It starts in 30 below, runs well enough and gets him around. That isn’t even your first bi-weekly payment on some new trucks, I guess!

– If your situation allows, don’t even drive. Cycle to work or take the public transit. 

Many other opportunities exist such as home gardening and so on. “In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.” Look them up. Learn how to do as much as possible for yourself and bypass the need for more income all the time. The trick is to minimize expenses and use all available revenue to pay down debt principal. Hope this helps someone out there, who, like me learns his lessons the hard way.  One thing I found absolutely essential was humility.  I often remembered during my struggle, laughing at an eagle who tried to pick up too big a fish and spent an hour slowly flopping his way to shore…

And one last tip, and some of you would rather bite down on a file and have it ripped out of your mouth than do it, but having a talk now and then with the “man upstairs” surely did no harm to my own situation. Millions of people have found comfort and strength through trusting the one who walked on water, and raised the dead. He gave me my life back and showed me the path to the decent life I now enjoy. Bet he’ll do the same for you. 

Best wishes in your struggle with the visa-monster!

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